The United States spends more money on the military than any other country. You have to take the military out to stretch its legs every decade or so. If not to prepare for war, but to keep feeding the military expenditure process.
President Eisenhower's farewell address concerning the military industrial complex nailed the course for the United States since concerning conflicts.
Comparing military spending as one big lump $600 billion for the U.S. versus $225 billion for the EU versus $60 billion for Russia ignores several really important things.
First, a dollar buys you much more in Russia than in the U.S. Adjusted for purchasing power, Russia's defense budget is more equivalent to $180 billion: https://www.defensenews.com/opinion/commentary/2019/05/03/ru.... (The same is actually true for Europe too. Europe's PPP GDP is 20% higher than its nominal GDP, making the EU 28 defense budget more like $270 billion U.S.)
Second, it's not unreasonable for the U.S. to want to not merely achieve parity, but have a decisive advantage. Having a decisive technological edge costs you exponentially more money. The 747 cost about $7.5 billion (in today's money) to develop. The 787 cost $32 billion. The more advanced technology cost a lot more to develop even in inflation-adjusted dollars. The same is true for all sorts of high-tech industrial equipment. The cost of a new fab tripled from 1998 to 2010: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/418576/the-high-cost-of-u....
Third, going back to Eisenhower, the cost to society of having a military scales with population. We can afford to spend $600 billion on the military more than Russia can afford to spend $60 billion. That's why it makes sense to look at it as a percentage of GDP--how much of our economic output are we devoting to the military, versus other things?
3% of GDP is higher than Europe now, but about the same as what France was spending as recently as the early 1990s: https://tradingeconomics.com/france/military-expenditure-per.... Were we talking about how French military expenditures were a mark of crazy imperialism back then?
 To give a concrete example, sources report that Russian subway lines cost 10-15 billion rubles per kilometer: https://www.metro-report.com/news/single-view/view/the-winne.... That’s $150-230 million by exchange rate. In the US, subway lines in SF and LA have ranged from $375-562 million per km. In New York, the Second Avenue subway was $1.6 billion per mile. You’d never compare New York’s or SF’s subway budget with Russia’s without accounting for that.
Also, the U.S. underpins the existing economic system. That costs
This is a perfect example of why social media increases depression and isolation.
> instead they get a bunch of attention seeking people who have never served
That's a bit harsh. Seems many of the people writing in that thread have relatives that did serve, but now are unable to tell their own story, for one reason or another.
I'm glad people are telling their stories about it, but you're probably right as well that social media might not be the best area to drum that up, as it's hard to have real conversations about whatever subject.
On one hand, OP is almost certainly right about attention seeking, and I'd go as far as to expect that many of the stories are outright fabricated. There is a well known
(and growing) phenomena of military imposters that falsely claim service , and the secondhand stories here are even harder to verify and present a clear motivation for falsehood.
On the other hand, there is also plenty of evidence that growing PTSD rates , and overall worse outcomes  for service members, is a real phenomenon. The true stories here that deserve analysis will have to compete with other stories that angle towards particular or personal ends.
End result: every viewer sees plenty in this thread to confirm their own expectations.
My Uncle served, Marine Corps and then Army and he retired CW4. He died young of horrible cancers, we contend, most likely, though no one can prove it now that he's dead and forgotten, due to exposure to Agent Orange in-country in Vietnam. He spent the last ~10 years of his life fighting the VA.
My father served, Navy, he's a disabled veteran who has had the majority of his insane health complications linked to Agent Orange exposure in-country in Vietnam. I had to take 2 years off of my life to, among other things, help him fight the VA to get disability status and to get his disability / health complications service linked. The VA is still jacking him around today. He, and his cohort, have a mantra that they operate on. "Delay, deny, and hope that we die." That's how Vietnam veterans have been impacted by serving.
My brother served, Army, 10th Mountain. He had an equipment malfunction in Haiti _destroy_ his left ankle and, many surgeries later, still cannot walk properly. As a civilian, he was a line cook, then a sous chef, then a chef. He then fell in with a group of serial restaurateurs. He has spent his life on his feet in pain. He's also had to spend a ludicrous amount of time fighting with the VA.
This is a small sampling of the men in my life who have been impacted by serving. I'd say, overall, no, my family has not been impacted well by serving. And we've overwhelmingly not been served well by the US Government and VA upon separation or retirement.
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime...
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.
- Wilfred Owen (1893-1918), published 1920
Most people who talk about how "horrible war is" have never been in a context where killing or being killed is preferable to the status quo.
Israeli conscription is mandatory for adult citizens on or about their 18th birthday with a service obligation of 3 years for males and 2 years for females, but you can defer service until after completion of undergraduate education for 6 years as an officer.
Stories of abuse during draft service were so common in many countries that people normalized them.
'Soldiers' are low level resources to be turned over into a different kind of wealth. Sooner the realization dawns the better for those who are left behind with the shorter end of the stick, with or without some shiny pieces of metal.
So for military action to be rational the troops need to be securing access to foreign wealth/raw resources, or dealing with a somewhat imminent threat from people who want to break and steal stuff from the military's sponsor.
The opportunity cost of the military is huge. Artificial violent conflict/threat thereof doesn't prop up anything on its own, the military doesn't generate wealth in and of itself.
That's not a complete list. For example, one of the key functions of the U.S. Navy for a long time was suppressing piracy, which hindered overseas trade. It's basically a policing function--keeping things stable to enable commerce to happen. The function of the U.S. military today can be seen as an outgrowth of that.
We don't care about terrorism because we want their resources or because we think they'll take our resources. It's because terrorism is a threat to a world order that is very beneficial for us. The cumulative economic cost of 9/11 globally was estimated at up to $2 trillion: https://www.brookings.edu/articles/the-world-after-911-part-....
As for policing goes the subjects signed up for it even if that wasnt individually.
The end result with U.S. policy is that you end up with a different regime that's more likely to trade with and have friendly relations with the U.S. There's definitely an economic reason for U.S. intervention
I believe the Iranians would like to have a word with you.
I am looking forward to understand from you which part of your
"For imperialism, the result is a country under the political control of a different country, or giving up its resources to another country."
does the CIA sponsored coup against fledgling Iranian democracy not fit.
> No, you're the one conflating the two. The end result is different.
... like pressuring India to loosen its standards for agricultural seeds so that US companies can flood the huge market with theirs that have germination rate of 65% whereas the indian minimum standard was high 90%. Free trade when it is beneficial to US companies, protected if not, or else regime change.
... like forcing India to remove the separation of investment banking and consumer banking. These dont look any different from forcing ones way into markets and access to resources that they would not have achieved otherwise.
... like locating dangerous chemical plant with safety mechanisms deliberately omitted to cut cost that otherwise would not have been possible in their own country and using that to post higher profits (at the expense of locals bearing the brunt of the Bhopal disaster).
I dont perceive the difference that you are trying to point out. Unless you really believe the point of the ladt iraq war was spreading democracy, if you buy that I doubt we would gain much by a conversation.
EDIT: I am intrigued that this hasnt been responded to for an hour whereas responses were pretty quick before.
Without taking sides (I haven't read the whole conversation), I should note that HN has a "cool-down" feature:
"there is a delay before the reply link appears on deeply nested comments, in order to create drag on flamewars."
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=880844 (pg is the creator of the site)
All this phrasing hints that human beings are, or should be, purely rational and profit-driven robots without any social, ethical or moral value.
There's a word for this: sociopathy.
At that scale the people who don't think in sociopathic terms will struggle to make decisions. How does someone purposefully cause even 1 death while reflecting on the general wonder of life? They'd have to be stupid. Anyone who wasn't thinking in sociopathic terms would have to choose 'more negotiation' and 'do without' over military engagement. And that isn't what happens in practice.
Wars and other catastrophes are equalizing wealth distribution and are not distributing wealth to the top.
Borders do not apply to very rich people.
I just dont think that rich people in general have an interest in a (serious) war.
I rather think conflicts are used to distract from other problems and create "unity". But not with the goal to make money.
Obviously some peope will try to profit from it while its going on and some will also lobby for new ones. I just dont thinks that this influence is that big
describes a small fraction of the conflicts the US was involved in in the last 100 years.
My service is what paid for college, and led to a satisfying life. I had a large family, and without the USAF I'm not sure I would've been able to afford school. It also gave me time to mature between high school and college.
It worked very well for me.
1. I value my personal freedom much more than before serving being wheel in this whole mechanism
2. I became expert in faking/pretending to work
3. I had problem to say sentence without swear word, but this disappeared after few weeks/months when you need to be conscious about it
4. it took also few weeks to so picking up phone or even home telephone with Private XY receiving
5. and I lost any ideals about military, it's (was) bunch of drunks, every single office you came open bottle
6. I enjoyed using catch 22 logic as clerk when reasoning about some issues, that book really accurately describe military
We have the money for all sorts of "socialist" programs like free college and a safety net for youth. But how, politically, do we make the decision to decouple it from inflicting violence on those youth?
We force poor people to join so that we'll have a military. We have wars to justify having a large military. We have a large military so that we'll purchase a lot of military equipment. We purchase a lot of military equipment to fuel the economy in specific congressional districts. We prop up those districts so that the people there have jobs and will reelect their representatives. Even the politicians who seem to support the "socialist" programs have no intention of following through with their promises.
> We have the money for all sorts of "socialist" programs like free college
Most "developed" countries have free healthcare. Many have free or almost-free college.
The US is by far the less "socialist" society among wealthy countries.
What Twitter really means to address in its rule isn't "violence" but rather "violence outside the accepted rules for when violence can be used." But fuzzy thinking has caused it to bury the concept in a nonsensical universalism.
That may work as polemical statement but is utterly disconnected from the reality of how power and society actually work. No, you are not kept in your place bc of the threat of violence. The law works only because so many comply with it despite the lack of coercive capacity instead of because - the justice system is simply incapable of policing everybody. We need to acknowledge the role of disciplinary power and biopower. For example, we self-discipline being subject to hierarchical surveillance, normalizing judgment, and examination, and also the productive. You don't run around naked outside, because the police could ticket (or, re violence, jail) you for public indecency, but because you dear the judgment of your peers, the potential loss of access to opportunities etc.
War is means to an end, and that end is a political one.
If you can diplomat your way to your political goal without the need for violence, then that is awesome and should always be the first option over bloodshed.
When the US Army fought the Nazis and imperial Japan, were they “promoting violence against civilians to further their causes”?
I don't think you can say the US Army is promoting any violence against civilians, but it is harming civilians, even though it's not promoting that.
Copy-pasting from a previous comment (made by me):
> Here is a list of engagements: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_United_States_mili...
> Taking "2017 Shayrat missile strike" as a random example (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_Shayrat_missile_strike) shows that specific mission had at least 9 civilian casualties.
> So even if not intended, the US army are in fact using violence against civilians (like probably most armies in the world)
I see why they'd be excluded from this rule. And I don't really care to put my opinion forward here.
Perhaps other verbage in their TOS excludes entities like the US Army.
It's mostly interesting to me to consider what the rules actually mean, and why they're there. It's clearly not intended for entities like the US Army, but why? Why leave the TOS so vague on an important topic? I guess it's just a blanket to cover any appearance of condoning terrorism on their platform.
Taking "2017 Shayrat missile strike" as a random example (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_Shayrat_missile_strike) shows that specific mission had at least 9 civilian casualties.
So even if not intended, the US army are in fact using violence against civilians (like probably most armies in the world)
Last week's tl;dr:
Iran should be wiped off the map
-- President Trump